Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the entire staircase. – Martin Luther King Jr.
Religion is a major component of Korean society, yet few English Blogs in Korea attempt to address or write articles regarding faith-based experiences in the ROK. In my opinion, this is a huge mistake. People across the world and in Korea are hungry for these stories.
In Korea, most expat blogs tend to lean towards either anti-religious or at best, agnostic sentiments. While I understand and respect those points of views, I feel like the faith-based communities in Korea are not fairly represented. Typically, I only see religious posts concerning a few of the more eccentric cults in Korea. This unfairly excludes numerous positive experiences of Koreans and expats who are actively involved in religious organizations.
I also believe there are many questions about religion in Korea that people would like to see answered on a personal level. People want to know what life is like for Christians in South Korea. They want to know things like why Korean Christians are so fervent and how did Christianity explode in Korea while it remains dormant in most of Asia. People would love to see the faith and practices of a Buddhist from the Jogye Order. They would love to hear personal explanations about what separates Korean Buddhism from the rest of the world. I personally want to talk to the lovely ladies who I’ve seen at Buddhist temples at 4:00 AM during my sunrise photo shoots. And finally, what about Shamanism, the indigenous faith of Korea? How active is Shamanism in modern Korea? How often do practitioners of other faiths turn to Shamanism in times of need?
Additionally, people might have simpler questions like what church should they attend or how do they get hooked up with a Buddhist organization? What projects are different religious organizations undertaking to help the community? How do expats exercise their faith in Korea and where can they go for support?
Below is an example of a great faith-based story in Seoul that deserves to be told. Even though a movie was made on the subject, relatively few people in Korea or across the world know about this courageous pastor and his battle against child abandonment.
Just to be clear, Korea is still a religious country. According to a 2005 census, 29% of Koreans are Christian, 23% are Buddhist, and 40% claim no religious affiliation. With over half the population claiming religious affiliation, it’s important to include their voices and experiences within the dialogue of South Korea.
I would like to provide a positive place for believers from any faith to present their experiences, points of views, and stories of practicing their faith in Korea. As a western Christian, I have more access to Christianity and foreigners in Korea. Nonetheless, I truly encourage both Koreans and members of other faiths to contact me. I will photograph you and your organizations, and work with you to present your stories and message in the most positive and uplifting manner.
I am welcoming anyone living in Korea of any faith to contact me to share their views and experiences. Please submit all requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a great overall view of religion in Korea, I highly recommend Daniel Tudor’s Korea: The Impossible Country.
Personal Stories and Submissions